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All night Audrey woke again and again, and every so often Nick would be awake, too, and their bodies would shift into newshapes, and once Nick reached for her as if in a panic, and once Audrey thumped to the kitchen half-awake and stuck her head under the tap to drink, and once she turned over to face Nick, who was open-eyed, and they began to kiss in a dream, bodies just coming to, and she saw the dull shadows from the streetlights pass over his face as he came, and he covered her body with his and she felt his breath in her hair, and they held each other, and the whole time they never said a thing.
Audrey, Katy and Adam have been friends since high school—a decade of sneaky cigarettes, drunken misadventures on Melbourne backstreets, heart-to-hearts, in-jokes.
But now Katy has gone. And without her, Audrey is thrown off balance: everything she thought she knew, everything she believed was true, is bent out of shape.
Audrey’s family—her neurotic mother, her wayward teenage brother, her uptight suburban sister—are likely to fall apart. Her boyfriend, Nick, tries to hold their relationship together. And Audrey, caught in the middle, needs to find a reason to keep going when everything around her suddenly seems wrong.
Evocative and exquisitely written, Our Magic Hour is a story of love, loss and discovery. Jennifer Down’s remarkable debut novel captures that moment when being young and invincible gives way to being open and vulnerable, when one terrible act changes a life forever.
‘All the rapture and calamity of youth. Jennifer Down is a writer of rare insight and heart.’
‘Intimate, raw and occasionally heartbreaking…I loved this book. Down is an exceptional writer…Our Magic Hour is beautiful, gut-wrenching fiction and I cannot recommend it highly enough.’
‘Down has perfectly captured the vulnerability of youth…An incredibly intimate and tender novel about friendship, family and the transformative power of grief…It is easily one of the best Australian debuts I’ve read in a long time.’
‘A gritty, evocative story…Unconventional and intimate, Our Magic Hour is a must-read.’
‘Down’s novel is a story about very small things, that all add up to very big things about grief and friendship, love and death…Down has an impressive feel for the drama of the ordinary.’
‘If Helen Garner turned her razor-sharp eye to a new generation, Our Magic Hour might be the result. Down unravels the self-obsession and shortsightedness of youth with insight and affection, and turns the grit of modern twenty-something life—breakups, breakdowns, new jobs and new towns—into something profound, beautiful and hopeful.’
‘Down has a reserved but beautiful prose…In its maturity and elegance, Our Magic Hour is a surprising and captivating debut novel. I have no doubt that Down will produce more quality writing in the future.’
‘Down’s preoccupations are those of a young adult grappling with heavy issues, and she does so admirably…Our Magic Hour takes place in a lively, vivid Melbourne cityscape’
‘Striking, breathlessly written…Down’s clear and confident voice can play originally with language…An eloquent debut.’
‘Down’s supple social realism has a vitality and energy to it…This is real writing about real people in a real place…I’m sure that Down will be a fixture in the Australian lit scene for years to come.’
‘A vivid portrait of our city and its inhabitants.’
‘An impressive and emotionally sophisticated novel.’
‘Down’s evocation of Audrey’s grief is astute, perceptive and always convincing…It’s compelling writing.’
‘Beautifully written, it looks at grief and loss in a raw and honest way.’
‘Down’s depiction of modern Melbourne is so familiar and evocative that I felt like I’d bumped into her characters at the café just the day before. For a book so infused with grief and longing, the sheer amount of love and depth of feeling in the novel made me yearn for everything and nothing all at once, and has stayed with me throughout the year.’
‘Down writes equally of significant moments and unremarkable days with sparing beauty. Particularly adept at depiction of place, Down made me wonder if I hadn’t sat across from Audrey on the train to Redfern, bumped elbows with her at a bar in Bondi. Down is the kind of writer that you’ll be lucky to get on at the ground floor with, she is only going up.’
‘A raw novel about growing up in a world that never seems to make any sense…this novel manages to neatly capture that universal malaise felt by terrified millennials all over the world.’
‘A masterclass in elegant understatement…A very fine novel indeed—compassionate, clear-sighted and lovely.’
‘Down’s prose is sharp and intimate, the characters flawed and achingly familiar. For a book about mourning, it’s not overly sentimental or indulgent. Instead, the characters’ grief is ugly and bewildering. Our Magic Hour is a compelling, authentic portrayal of loss, dislocation and the unsteadiness of young adult life.’